Have you ever slept in a former prison? Hostel Celica, the premium Hostel in Ljubljana, is just that. Welcome to one of the most intriguing hostels in the world. With a name that means cell and a history as a former military prison, the Celica Hostel (or full name: Celica Art Hostel) might not sound like the sort of place you'd find an open-minded, relaxed place to stay. But that's exactly what you'll get here in the heart of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The infobox on Hostel Celica ⭐
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Advantage of the Hostel Celica location and neighborhood
The Celica Art Hostel is a quick 5-minute walk away from the train station and a 10-minute walk away from most of Ljubljana's major attractions. On top of that, you'll be in heart of the hip alternative neighborhood of Metelkova city, which is known for being the place to go for art galleries, artist's studios, street art, cultural events, and all kinds of parties.
Full Address: 📍
Metelkova ulica 8, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Transformation is the name of the game here, and these days you won’t find anything prison-like within these walls.
There are 20 former prison cells!
They have been artistically transformed into welcoming double and triple rooms for guests, along with more rooms including small and large dorm rooms, rooms with special artistic features, and even a wheelchair-friendly room.
We have written a big guide to comparing the best hostels in Ljubljana. In this, we compare Hostel Celica with all the other options in town.
Ljubljana is a great place to visit. It is a relatively small city, easy to explore by foot and bike. With this hostel, we’re excited to introduce you to a fantastic hostel in the Slovenian capital. It is your perfect place to stay, and certainly on top of all best hostels in Ljubljana.
While some of the hostel’s architectural details are left over from the military prison, that’s about it.
Today, the former prison is a friendly, free space with prison bars only on the windows and doors of the cells.
The concept behind the hostel is to create an environment where people can share their life experiences and their creative ideas.
Before we start, pack smart…
Remember to pack accordingly for staying in a hostel – yet, do not overpack.
Let’s put on some imaginary prison uniforms. Join us on our walk around award-winning Hostel Celica, on top of all best hostels in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
1. Looks fantastic with no plastic!
Yep, you read that right – there is zero plastic in this dorm. There are zero plastic bottles at the bar, water is only available in glass bottles, and none of the drinks in the hostel are served in plastic containers.
It is a no-plastic hostel!
On top of that, the accommodation follows Eco-friendly guidelines, meaning they do things like use natural materials rather than artificial ones and promote recycling.
Their bars and restaurants serve up both intentional food and local specialties. They work hard to find local suppliers from around Slovenia.
The building itself is “re/upcycled” as well. The building is a former military prison that went through a colorful and dark history.
2. From Confinement to Creative Freedom
The hostile environment of the military prison this building once was has been replaced by relaxed, open vibes all about being creative and free.
The building’s military history dates back to 1882, when Metelkova Street was full of military barracks, including a prison.
The barracks were taken over by the Yugoslav National Army when Yugoslavia was formed, and they were used as such until Slovenia gained its independence in 1991.
Then, the Metelkova Network requested that the barracks be converted into a multicultural center.
The city was extremely slow to respond, and eventually decided to demolish the former barracks in 1993. But a group of about 200 supporters literally stepped in to protect the buildings.
Artists began squatting in them to stop the barracks from being destroyed, and dreamed of creating a welcoming, open space someday.
The idea for the Hostel Celica was first floated around 2000.
The concept was to give each cell its own story.
And that’s exactly what happened; a different group of artists was chosen for each cell. Volunteers and over 80 artists from all over the world participated to transform the prison into a hostel.
Have a read and see why it still stands out. Near Ljubljana, you can stay at many more amazing hostels. Have a look at the Swanky Mint in Zagreb, or the Hostel Ruthensteiner in Vienna, which once sheltered intellectual refugees during the Cold War.
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